Spotlight on Joel Plews
At Spotlight, we got the chance to speak to Joel Plews, Founder of Sharpen Digital, who spoke to us about building his business and overcoming setbacks.
A background into you and your business
After a few years working in social media and never really finding the right role, I started Sharpen Digital in July 2019. Our mission is to help give businesses that need it, a professional presence and voice on social media without having to make a permanent hire. Almost two years later, we’ve helped over 50 individual clients grow online and have stepped into other areas of digital marketing.
I have worked with social media agencies, eCommerce businesses, viral publishers and pretty much every other variation of social media business, and one thing is clear to me: social media doesn’t need to be a full time hire for most businesses. Even the busiest accounts require only a couple of hours of maintenance a day from someone who is truly competent and efficient.
This gave me a simple idea to create a social media agency that truly gets to know its clients and is transparent about the services they need to succeed. I always knew the concept would work, and that demand would one day be there for it, I just had no idea about outreach or sales, and nowhere near enough confidence to try it at an earlier age!
The biggest challenge I faced was developing the mindset and confidence to go into business.
I overcame this by working hard, questioning absolutely everything and I took responsibility for myself when it really mattered.
Drive and Determination
What gives me the drive and determination is a burning desire from within to launch new projects and try new things. I am passionate about always doing my best to keep my client’s communications both on-brand and professional - how social media services for business should be as standard.
Advice for others
There has never been a better time to start an online business. Do your research around whatever industry you are getting into but don’t overcomplicate it, just make sure there is a demand for your product or service. My advice will always be:
“Go for it!’
Make sure to develop skills that set you apart, work hard, and be someone who takes action when others don’t.
If you’re aiming for a leadership role, go for it and don’t take no for an answer. You need to understand that people may not do things the exact way you do and they will find their own way.
To what do you attribute your success?
It would be taking action, being willing to try things, and questioning everything.
What top tips do you have for businesses struggling with remote working?
It sounds basic, but the businesses that struggle the most with remote working are usually the least tech-savvy, so if you are in that category, you can use simple communication software such as Slack and Zoom to chat to co-workers with just a few clicks.
How has your business adapted to deal with such uncertain times?
We have adapted during Covid by diversifying our revenue streams to ensure that if one drops off, the business isn’t impacted anywhere near as much as it would have been. This approach has made a difference and will enable us to survive and thrive long term.
Here at Sharpen Digital, we want to continue working with our amazing existing clients as well as new ones. Currently, we’re focused on helping them succeed as well as working on our own eCommerce projects.